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Nov 19 2020

Avatar Program: Getting creative to transform the energy industry

Posted by TC Energy


November 18, 2020 Update

Over the summer, TC Energy engaged in the first-ever Avatar Program which virtually brought together teams who pitched their solutions to some of the energy industry's biggest challenges.

It was a resounding success, and based on the positive response from the community – it’s coming back. We are excited to continue to help shape Canada’s energy future through our partnership with the Avatar Program.

At TC Energy, we recognize the unique value young leaders bring to our industry. We want to play an active role in developing an innovative, diverse and skilled future workforce to inspire new ideas. Avatar presents an excellent opportunity to offer young professionals resources and a platform to amplify their ideas and perspectives for our energy future.”

Russ Girling,
President and CEO, TC Energy

The Avatar Program will train 300 young oil and gas professionals across Canada in a 12-week action learning journey where they will take on solving and building business cases for ten of the most pressing energy challenges in our country including: hydrogen, digitization, nature-based climate solutions, energy advocacy and policy and more.

The Avatar Program will be presented in partnership with the Young Pipeliners Association of Canada, The Young Professionals in Energy Association and Young Women in Energy. The academic content will be supported by faculty from the University of Calgary.

Learn more about the Avatar Program

September 15, 2020 Update

This summer saw the first-ever virtual session launch of the Avatar program, designed by Beaver Drilling Ltd., the Young Pipeliners Association of Canada (YPAC) and the University of Calgary. The program, which is a collaborative networking and leadership development forum, encourages participants to design innovative solutions for the future of the energy industry.

The program was comprised of six, two-hour sessions led by some of the industry's most senior 2020-09-15-avatar-ipac-participants-325x425.jpgleadership and culminated in a “Shark Tank” style case competition, where nine groups pitched their solutions to some of the energy industry's biggest challenges. A small-but-mighty team of YPAC members, including TC Energy employees, Ana Villarreal, YPAC Calgary co-chair and the program architect, and Katia Greco, YPAC member and Stress Field EIT, worked tirelessly to design and execute the program.

“From behind the scenes, it was beyond humbling to witness the impact of the sessions week after week. Above all, as a young professional it was inspiring, especially in current times, to hear the participants’ pitches about the future of the energy industry,” shares Katia of her experience.

This year the program also had the pleasure of hearing from a few unique mentors, such as George Whitesides, Chief Executive Officer of aerospace giant Virgin Galactic and TC Energy’s Chris Foster, Vice-President, Information Services and Chief Information Officer. Avatar x YPAC also hosted both the Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan and Alberta Minister of Energy Sonya Savage in their first-ever joint ministerial session, where the ministers had an engaging dialogue with the participants.

How did the participants do?

Of the 54 participants, 11 were from TC Energy, working on the following topics:

  • Hydrogen in the new energy future
  • Energy advocacy
  • Innovative pipeline and construction techniques
  • Digitization in the pipeline industry

The judges for the “Shark Tank” event – who represented a diverse range of leadership within the energy industry, including Jawad Masud, Senior Vice-President, Operations and Project Execution – gave budding innovators the chance to secure their business proposals that could change the face of energy.

“All of the participants rose to the occasion and represented our company in an exceptional and fascinating way. They put forward some really creative and thoughtful ideas that we will want to see how we can utilize as an industry and support as a company,” said Jawad.

Although no one from TC Energy was on the team, the winning group as selected by the judges was the carbon capture utilization and storage team, who pitched an integrated Canadian carbon management system that provides recommendations to support a lower carbon economy in Canada.

Learn more:

All nine pitches are being showcased in Canada’s largest energy publication, JuneWarren Nickels (JWN), over the next few weeks. Keep an eye on the JWN Daily Oil Bulletin to see what these talented individuals came up with!

Avatar Program Enables Young O&G Professionals to Connect with Industry Virtually

JWN Daily Oil Bulletin series